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Thread: What makes a good middle or high school teacher?

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  1. #1
    GreenG mickyjune26's Avatar
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    What makes a good middle or high school teacher?

    Last month, I decided to finish my degree in teaching. I have 2 years left. I would love to teach politics in middles school and then help with the high school jazz band during the school year and in the weight room in the summer.

    I want to be a good teacher that actually helps the students want to learn something new. This means staying away from memorizing useless information and getting their opinions on current events, actually listening to what they have to say.

    Question - What attributes did your favorite teachers have? What did they do to help you like the class?

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    II MrWebb78's Avatar
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    any teacher that kept me awake in class was OK by me. I just cant stand monotone lectures.
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  3. #3
    GreenG mickyjune26's Avatar
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    lol - remember when Ben Stien played a teacher in that one TV series?
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    Team Chesticles! Unholy's Avatar
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    A good sense of humor.

    Understanding the culture of the particular generation you are teaching.
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  5. #5
    Do that voodoo that he do
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    Two things that immediately come to mind are patience and consistency.

    I've dealt with a lot of high school students, many with behavorial issues (all very bright, though), and their biggest beef with adults is that adults are liars. I've been patient with the kids, and treated them as adults, and they've always respected me. If you say you're going to do something, do it. It doesn't matter if it's letting them skip a homework assignment, going on a field trip, standing on your head, throwing them a party, or whooping their ass. They'd rather know you'll carry through with what you say, positive or negative, than have a teacher that's wishy-washy.
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  6. #6
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    I teach high school special ed. You definitely consistency. Students definitely notice if you are inconsistent with your classroom management. Patience is also important, but the biggest thing is caring. Do you care about the students? Students can tell if you don't care and if you don't care, they don't care. If the students know you care about them then they will respond to you. That's been my experience in the 13 years I've been teaching. My students tend to be the rougher ones and I actually have very few discipline problems with them inside of the classroom because of my attitude towards them.

  7. #7
    HS Football D Breyer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by XxH0LyWaRsxX View Post
    A good sense of humor.

    Understanding the culture of the particular generation you are teaching.
    Nailed it.

    It won't make or break your teaching success, but I enjoy teachers that incorporate a lot of technology into their teaching. Everyday my geography teacher has his lesson plan put into a PowerPoint, and that is how we take notes. I for some reason find myself listening in the lecture more, and taking better notes. The most interesting part is when he pulls up Google earth on the laptop and we can see satellite images of the region we are studying.

    Just a thought.
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    Banned Tofer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by D Breyer View Post
    Nailed it.

    It won't make or break your teaching success, but I enjoy teachers that incorporate a lot of technology into their teaching. Everyday my geography teacher has his lesson plan put into a PowerPoint, and that is how we take notes. I for some reason find myself listening in the lecture more, and taking better notes. The most interesting part is when he pulls up Google earth on the laptop and we can see satellite images of the region we are studying.

    Just a thought.
    You're probably going to like University/college a lot if you enjoy powerpoint lectures.

  9. #9
    Team Chesticles! Unholy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by D Breyer View Post
    Nailed it.

    It won't make or break your teaching success, but I enjoy teachers that incorporate a lot of technology into their teaching. Everyday my geography teacher has his lesson plan put into a PowerPoint, and that is how we take notes. I for some reason find myself listening in the lecture more, and taking better notes. The most interesting part is when he pulls up Google earth on the laptop and we can see satellite images of the region we are studying.

    Just a thought.
    Not only that but a teacher with a sense of humor is always easier to get along with. I love teachers that break the ice with a joke.
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  10. #10
    T.J.W. nhlfan's Avatar
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    -know how to poke fun at students without going over the line
    -challenge them, but be readily available for help
    -supervise clubs/activities/school trips
    -have a lot of cool stories haha
    -know lots about what you teach, even if it doesn't directly relate to the curriculum. I had a physics teacher who was great at tying in amazing historical backgrounds and war stories about what we were studying (nuclear physics was great for that!)
    -have lots of confidence. students can smell fear.
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  11. #11
    Banned Tofer's Avatar
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    In my opinion, most middle school teachers act like nothing more than babysitters. Kids of that age group tend to be pretty wild and hard to control. It takes a special kind of teacher to get them to settle down and really learn something. Unfortunately most of the people who teach middle school are too apathetic to really push their students. Good for you for wanting to make a difference, man.

    When I was in middle school there was one teacher who really went the extra mile, and I'll always be thankful for that. Up to that point, I wasn't particularly great in either Mathematics or Physics, but he was somehow able to push me and get me really interested. I doubt I would be in Engineering today if not for his teaching. I think the key is to make your lectures dynamic, and show enthusiasm for what you're doing. Students tend to feed off your energy. If you sound bored with the material you're teaching, then likely they'll find it boring too.
    Last edited by Tofer; 01-11-2007 at 03:59 PM.

  12. #12
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    I remember my favourite high school teachers being the toughest. The ones that always had hard tests and assignments, but they could explain that stuff like it was nothing. They always challenged the class; you really had to bust your ass to do well in their class.
    I think another key think to being liked it to be able to hang out with students in a non-academic setting. I'm not saying outside of school, but be involved with student clubs. My high school had the two gym teachers shave their heads for cancer, the principal shaved his legs on a bet, etc.

  13. #13
    General of Froot Soldiers TwiloMike's Avatar
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    I remember that my favorite teachers at school had magnetic personalities, they always knew how to level with the students and be positive, they didn't talk down, they always had interesting facts up their sleeve and not necessarily humorous, they weren't afraid to explore a tangential subjects and didn't consider students' question stupid, etc. Both of my favorite teachers were english teachers, btw.
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  14. #14
    T.J.W. nhlfan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwiloMike View Post
    Both of my favorite teachers were english teachers, btw.
    I also usually had great english teachers.
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  15. #15
    Read the Stickies! whiteman90909's Avatar
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    Know what your teaching.

    Dont just lecture.

    Do some hands-on type stuff.

    Show your personality.

    Talk about yourself some.

    Dont give HW.

  16. #16
    Senior Member miken5254's Avatar
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    Be assertive when you need to and give little HW if at all for weekends or breaks. For the quiet kids, try to be friendly and "down to earth", after some time they should naturally open up to you and in class participations. And don't be boring, I think that's a new teacher's greatest fear.
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  17. #17
    Superman sharkall2003's Avatar
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    Understanding.

    When I was a freshman in high school I was going through a very tough time. I was in sports, academic clubs, and trying to work with my dad who was at the time going through some trouble. I was doing horribly and was just really down on myself. Some kid would always irritate me in the same class and I asked him to stop several times. After he came over and snapped a pencil I was writing with I flipped out. I picked up the desk and chucked it at the damned kid and told him to go **** himself. The teacher saw me and politely asked me to leave the classroom until I could cool down. He came out shortly later and talked with me about the problem. I ended up working hard in that class and earning a C. I took his class again two years later and earned an A. If it weren't for Mr. Fisk taking his time to understand me he could have done a lot to my academic career. I appreciated his understanding and I hope to be like him in that way.
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  18. #18
    rampage don't squat bloodninja's Avatar
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    If you enjoy it, you will be good at it.

    In my experience, the crappy teachers were the ones that did it just for a check, and obviously hated their jobs.

  19. #19
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    for a high school teacher (this most likely doesnt happen in middle school):
    don't try and ram your political opinion down the throats of your students
    having problems with that right now with my gov. history teacher

  20. #20
    Senior Member shootermcgavin7's Avatar
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    Middle Schools kids are horrible. I think they should lock 13 yr olds away in cages for a year, let them out when it is time for 9th grade.

    I volunteer for a program called Junior Achievment where I teach Business/Economics/Finance/etc to high school classes for about 2 hrs/week; the maturity difference between them and the middle school classes is slightly incredible.

  21. #21
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    I think that honest, genuine COMMUNICATION with your students is the most effective tool a teacher can have.

    Lesson plans, presentations, all the tips and tricks and tools are just that: TOOLS. The most effective teachers I have had tried to communicate with every student on an individual level, demonstrating that it mattered to them and it should matter to us that this class was going to learn together about whatever they were teaching.

    I think that you're a very VERY brave person for wanting to be a teacher in today's society, because the product of typical childrearing practices in the 1990s and today seems to be mostly arrogant, ignorant and willful. Good on ya and good luck.

  22. #22
    Senior Member shootermcgavin7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Relentless View Post
    because the product of typical childrearing practices in the 1990s and today seems to be mostly arrogant, ignorant and willful.

    That's why the middle school I went to apparently is still allowed to hit the students.

  23. #23
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    I want to be a good teacher that actually helps the students want to learn something new. This means staying away from memorizing useless information and getting their opinions on current events, actually listening to what they have to say.

    Except for the part about motivating the students to want to learn, I generally disagree with this. Middle school students don't have particularly valid opinions about current events. Spending a lot of time eliciting them would be a waste of their time. What they need at that age is to learn a lot of facts (not necessarily memorizing). If you're going to teach politics, they need to learn the facts about differnent political systems, the theories behind them, how they worked in real life, and some real history to go along with it.

    They also need facts about how our system works. And who the people are running it.

    What middle school kids need is information. You're not there to be their friend. When I look back at who my best teachers were, many were not the ones I liked the best when I was actually living that class. Later, I realized which teachers had really helped me and taught me.

    I'm not saying don't listen to them, but letting them talk about their opinions about current events is generally a waste of time, unless you are directly relating to facts they are learning about politics.

  24. #24
    Senior Member accuFLEX's Avatar
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    Man, junior and high school classes bored the hell out of me. I would never in my life want to teach junior high (grades 7-9)

    I think the key to teaching is to earn the kids respect. I remember an old mafia saying, something like "make them fear you, and they will respect you" you can take that whatever way you want
    Last edited by accuFLEX; 01-12-2007 at 09:28 AM.

  25. #25
    THUNDER THIGHS! Fuzzy's Avatar
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    For me, the issue in itself weas respect.

    My two favourite teachers, one a 6'6 towering balding mass of doom, and another a 5' woman with the temper to floor an antire class and have Mr 6'6 scared.

    I respected them so so so much, why? Because they made teaching interesting big guy was history, she was maths. Having teachers, who can just relate, explain things soooooooo well is incredible.

    Theyd draw entire classes into discussions even the slower kids would send their hands flying up, sure a few wopuld be wrong, but theyd be actively listening.

    While both of these teachers were strict, and a few student held grudges for past punishments given, no single boy would say that they werent good teachers.

    Because they also gave the respect back.

    Plus, hiatory guy had the most hilarious sarcastic humour you would ever hear, and littl ecrazy maths lady was just funny.
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